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On-line learning, coaching and workshops
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On-line learning

We have put decades of experience in marketing, selling and negotiation into a series of powerful and practical on-line courses

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Learning works best when there is someone there to help. Our on-line courses include virtual coaching to help you get the most out of them.

Coaching after your course


We run live workshops as public events or customised for your organisation.

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Attracting new clients to your business is tough. Selling to them can be even tougher.

Wouldn’t it be great if people knew your products or services were brilliant, and just queued up to buy?

Unfortunately, business life is not like that. Markets are crowded and people are bombarded with marketing messages all day long.

But you can be successful. It is like that for every business, even Apple, even Zanussi. They compete and you can compete using great marketing and selling skills – and you don’t have to have their marketing budgets!

I can help you.

I can help you because I’ve been there. I have marketed products against huge international brands – successfully. I have sold services to clients who initially didn’t want to talk to me. I have only recently realised how unusual I am – someone who has had a career in both marketing and sales, and fully understands how customer’s buy from beginning to end.

I passionately believe that those of us who run businesses have to have a completely joined-up approach to Marketing and Sales. After all, it is the same thing to the customer.

I have brought together my marketing knowledge, sales skills and also an understanding of people’s behaviour from my time in business management to create what I believe is a unique set of services: on-line learning, coaching, support and live workshops with one aim in mind:

To help you sell more and make your business even more successful.

Have a look at the free articles, videos and other resources below. You can access even more though our free Ascent Club.

Field Notes

Tips, guides and articles on marketing, sales and operations to help you grow your business

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Budget studio lighting

Lighting your video on a budget

If you are making marketing videos indoors with a smartphone, webcam or camera, you will need some form of lighting to enhance your subject. If you can get away with using available natural or artificial light, that is ideal (as described in our course on making videos with your smartphone ). In many cases however, that isn’t possible particularly if you have to use a home studio – a grand title for a spare bedroom

How to avoid caption bloopers!

Many people watch video content on their tablets and smartphones in public places or at work where they don’t want to disturb others with sound. The closed captioning (cc) or subtitles feature in many video players means they can read text instead of listening. To add subtitles on  video platforms such as Vimeo you have to upload a file often called a .srt or .vtt file containing the transcript and

Are you offering a free download?

Offering a useful free downloadable document through social media is a very good way of attracting and engaging with potential customers. It provides evidence of your expertise and you are already adding value even before the customer buys something. Examples are guides, tip sheets, checklists, infographics (like the one above) and anything else that is genuinely useful in itself, and is not a sales brochure. Here are four tips to

Saatchi Gallery Tutankhamun Exhibition

How Tutankhamun connects with customers

There are a lot of very good videos and articles on LinkedIn and other social media. They provide evidence of the author’s expertise or skill, but many stand alone, with no links to anything else. If you are selling your services, this is a missed opportunity. Every buyer is on a journey. Customers don’t wake up in the morning, reach for their phone and buy something. They go through progressive

How to make a follow-up call from first contact

This can be a bit awkward if you are not used to it. Also, even if you are used to it, it can have unsatisfactory results. Imagine you were at a networking event or you were exhibiting at a trade show, and you had a conversation with someone who seemed to be a likely customer for your business. You probably also exchanged business cards. The follow-up call A few days

How Frederick the Great Marketed the Potato

I love historical stories of great marketers who weren’t actually marketers ( Cicero , Aristotle   Cave Men ). This week I discovered Frederick the Great’s Marketing Problem. He ruled Prussia from 1740-1786 and although he is probably best known for his military activities, he was also a great moderniser for social improvement and wealth creation. When there was a risk of famine in Prussia, he introduced the potato which had only recently been

Where to go for Brexit help

During October you will be bombarded with “help” to prepare for Brexit, from the DIT to anyone who wants to climb on the bandwagon. Having sat through DIT presentations and seen what other organisations are planning, I can save you a whole lot of trouble. All they will do is signpost you to because, quite simply, nobody has a better guide, and nobody has any information on how it will

How to protect your pricing –

– and avoid giving things away! Pricing is always a sensitive topic. Customers want to know how much something costs before they buy it, and suppliers don’t want to tell everyone (including their competitors) what something costs because often “it depends”. Unless you are selling a commodity product where the price is known at the start, there is a debate about whether you should expose your pricing structure early on

If you take payments online…

What is happening? From 14th September 2019 an update to the EU’s Payment Services Directive (known as PSD2) will change requirements for many online payments for customers in the European Economic Area (EEA). From this date, Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) will be required for online payments between businesses based in the EEA and customers based in the EEA. SCA requires two or more of the following elements to authenticate someone

“It ain’t what you do it’s the way that you do it”

Fun Boy Three and Bananarama, 1982. Does that take you back? I am constantly seeing debates on LinkedIn arguing whether cold calling has been superseded by social selling, or that digital marketing is the way to go. All I’m reading is about “what” you do not the “way” that you do it. You know what? It doesn’t matter what you do if you aren’t doing it the right way. Whether you are cold calling

Let’s get rid of Marketing

Brian Halligan didn’t say that, but he made me think it. Brian is the founder of Hubspot, the sales and marketing app/suite/platform that has been a huge influencer in the world of business development since 2006. I was fortunate to catch Brian in a “fireside chat” session hosted by Christian Kinnear at the London Hubspot User Group meeting. Brian is awesome. He is one of those entrepreneurs who come up

How to ace a difficult client meeting

Have you ever dreaded going to a client meeting, knowing it was going to be really tough? It happens to all of us, and I have had my share of them. Some caused by my own actions, latterly in senior roles to take one for the team. I have learned some tactics over the years, which can not only make the experience less stressful, they can significantly improve the outcome.

Book Review: The Speaker’s Coach by Graham Shaw

Book Review: Graham Shaw: “The Speakers Coach – 60 secrets to make your talk, speech or presentation amazing”. You can add to that list: pitch, demonstration, lesson – or any communication where you want to attract, engage and inspire your audience. There are some lessons here that can be used in simple conversations too. I am a big fan of Graham Shaw. He is an expert at communicating visually –

How to get a good night’s sleep…

“I slept like a baby” How come people never say “slept like a stressed out marketing director?” For the very good reason that often, adults don’t sleep so well and as a result their energy and performance suffer the following day. We invited Dan Collins, Team Facilitator and Sleep Coach to speak at our January techUK Marketing and Sales meeting to tell us how improved sleep can improve our performance

“Black Box Thinking” by Matthew Syed (book review)

A colleague recommended I read “Black Box Thinking” by Matthew Syed. Not quite knowing what to expect, I did. And what a powerful message. A message about the value of learning from mistakes, and the critical importance of maintaining an organisational culture that welcomes the opportunity to learn from failure rather than punishing it. The title comes from the key example of the benefits of this approach. As you can

Data Protection that children would understand

Despite the publicity, there still seems to be mystique and misunderstanding about the Data Protection rules (GDPR) yet the principles are very simple. So simple in fact that you could explain them to a child. The original terminology can be off-putting but let’s see through that to the seven key principles in Article 5 of the GDPR which guide data protection: If you borrow toys (personal information) you must play

Happy GDPR Christmas Nonsense

I am sure you have come across some daft ways of making life difficult, attributed to GDPR. Here are a collection of some bonkers Christmas-related GDPR challenges and the facts behind them. You can’t contact parents to tell them what stall they will be running at the school Xmas Fayre because you don’t have their express consent  Churches cannot ask for Christmas prayers for named parishioners who are ill or

The next bigger thing (than the technology)

I was flattered to be included in the list of “Thought Leaders” at the IoT-Build (Internet of Things) Conference this week, and invited to join the panel to discuss skills and training needs for the workplace. Chaired by Matt Hatton of Gartner, we had an interesting and wide-ranging discussion on the changing skills required, which in turn is impacted by our education system, social and business cultures and even politics.

How to interact with your website visitors like a pro…

A Chat feature on your website can increase engagement particularly at that vital point when visitors are about to place an order or take further action. It also makes your business appear sophisticated, professional and well-established. You might have thought that having a Chat feature for website visitors is only for brands with big budgets and thousands of visitors. Not so. There are a number of Chat applications that can

Can I send an email without consent?

The G-word isn’t history yet, and there still seems to be confusion about whether you can send marketing emails to people. In fact it is not GDPR that covers this, but the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR) which has been around since 2003 – last updated in 2018. The ICO have a helpful checklist on what can and can’t be done here:  , and plenty of helpful guidance on PECR

See all Field Notes


Here is a collection of our own videos and ones we particularly like from other contributors. There are also ebooks and assessments to download and enjoy.

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video how to create action from marketing copy

How to stimlate customer action from your marketing copy

Here I take two mailshot examples and show why one works and the other doesn’t. It’s easy to create marketing copy that stimulates action – if you do it right. You can use the same approach for web pages, landing pages and emails.

Why words are not enough

Neuroscience helps us understand why images are a vital part of communication. We can communicate our marketing and sales messages quickly and more effectively if we use the right images.

This 36-second video shows you how to easily find the cursor and edit text with the new version of Apple iOS 13.1.2 on an iPhone or iPad

The Mystery of the Missing Cursor!

This isn’t really a sales and marketing video, but it may be helpful anyway! In the new Apple iOS 13.1.2 on an iPhone or iPad, you might wonder where has the text cursor gone? This 36-second video shows you how to easily edit text with the new version of iOS. Register for more tips with the Ascent Club .

Our on-line Courses

We have put our marketing, selling and negotiation knowledge accumulated over decades of experience into a series of powerful and practical on-line courses. Each course is packed with tips and includes downloads and templates to help you apply what you have learned to your own business. Please follow the links below to read more about each of our on-line courses and book yourself on them!

More about our courses


Coming from a 35 year career in property and financial services, I had employed many marketing initiatives and saw the benefits of these during my career. But, like many I suspect, I had not had the basic training and learnt the building blocks. And social media has influenced marketing to the point where sales and marketing should be much more closely aligned. Undertaking Ascent Learning’s online course entitled The New Marketing Blueprint has been a very accessible, enjoyable and hugely beneficial training course for me. It puts all the pieces of marketing together in a very digestible format. Allied to this you get to keep the slides, transcript and various downloads which are all invaluable.  I would strongly recommend this course to anyone and especially those who do not have the dedicated marketing resource and want to maximise their impact in this competitive world. It represents great value for money.

Martin Pattinson

director, FocusFive – SMART Business Advice

Neville’s blend of skills in sales and marketing, plus learning and development have been a valuable combination for our discussions. My primary gap in knowledge was marketing, and Neville’s vast experience and ability to listen and ask poignant questions has allowed me not only to understand the marketing process, but implement it into my on-line business as well as my face to face provision.

Nikie Forster

Curious Lighthouse

Neville is a particularly good match for my company because has personal and consulting experience in several industries – thus has a wide and liberal perspective on how different business styles can operate. He is patient and encouraging and has raised or elaborated on some issues that I might have struggled with.

Sonia Hutton-Taylor

Medical Forum (Burnout Geese)

What a difference to our sales tactics, marketing approach and above all confidence you have made to us in just such a short time too. Really appreciate your help.

Matt Wailes

Educational Play Environments

Having recently been tasked with increasing our ‘Digital Brand’, I looked to Neville for assistance. What I got in return was a content rich, easy to understand introduction to a world that I feel much more comfortable with now than I did a week ago. Thank you Neville, I’ll certainly be on one of your courses again!

Andy Wright

Cara Telemarketing

Here we are now, 5 months on in our new premises, with much more active Twitter and Facebook, a new Instagram account, a growing mailing list and lots of ideas for the future. You have been great at facilitating ideas – giving us confidence in ourselves.

Jane Young

La Bella Donna

This is just the sort of course I like – packed in and practical. We are very conscious we need to keep pace with multimedia use and marketing and this was just the job to provide the basics, plus some more advanced tips and the steps needed to develop our own strategy

Nick Moon

Applied Resilience

We felt that we got a lot out of the day and looking forward to putting everything we’ve learnt into practice.  The ground work you covered in the course is also important. . We thought both Neville and Martine had lots of tips and experience to offer us which we really appreciated, and more than happy to recommend the course. It’s useful in many ways.

Clare Blatchford-Hanna

Anode Outlet